MONROVIA — Ahead of Friday night’s undefeated showdown, much of the pregame buzz centered around running backs Joe Mudie of St. Francis High and Kurt Scoby of host Monrovia.
But it was Golden Knights senior quarterback Ty Gangi who truly put on a show.
In an all-around spectacle, Gangi tallied seven total touchdowns, passing for four, rushing for two and catching the first of the game, which gave St. Francis a lead it would never relinquish as it throttled Monrovia, 48-14, at Monrovia High.
“I wasn’t really thinking about that, just thinking about getting the win,” said Gangi of his statistical highlights, of which he said he didn’t know about until he was told after the game. “[This win] was big for us. Last year, it’s all in the past, we just focused on the moment. … I think that was a big part and we just executed.”
Last year, St. Francis lost to Monrovia, 17-13, when a last-minute Golden Knights possession was fumbled away on the Wildcats one-yard line. This year, St. Francis (5-0), ranked sixth in the CIF Southern Section Western Division, has already surpassed its four-win total of last season and did so with an emphatic win over a Monrovia squad (4-1) that is ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Valley Division and claimed a CIF title a season ago before winning a state crown.
Gangi threw for 303 yards and touchdowns of 27, 32, 28 and 19 yards, as he completed 12 of 24 passes and threw one interception. He also ran six times for 24 yards and scores of four yards and one, while hauling in an eight-yard catch from Matt Gonzalez on the first Golden Knights drive of the game.
“Wow,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds of Gangi’s night. “Good for him. Such a great kid. The guys on the team, you can tell the way they play around him, they just love the guy.”
Dylan Crawford also turned in a huge night for the Golden Knights, grabbing four catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns (32, 28) — all in the first half.
“Everything was really clicking,” Crawford said. “We just had a really good week of practice and it showed up on the field.”
Mudie still did plenty, playing lockdown corner on defense, and rushing for 73 yards on 12 carries, running in a two-point conversion and catching a touchdown pass for one of his three catches for 57 yards. In all, St. Francis totaled 458 yards of offense, while Monrovia countered with 286 yards and a season-low in points scored.
Scoby, who’s been enrolled at six schools during his high school tenure, entered fifth-week play against St. Francis with 749 yards and nine touchdowns on 73 carries for an average of 10.26 yards a carry. Against the Golden Knights, he had a season-low 120 yards in 12 carries, the bulk of his total coming on a 73-yard touchdown.
Both teams also had first-half touchdowns called back, one for Mudie and one for Scoby, as the Wildcats finished with 11 penalties for 84 yards, while St. Francis was flagged nine times for 75 yards.
St. Francis scored on its first three drives of the game, leading to a 21-7 first-quarter lead and a 35-14 halftime edge.
St. Francis drew first blood when Gangi caught an eight-yard pass from Gonzalez and Mudie followed with a conversion.
“It was a great call and it worked out great,” Gangi said.
Monrovia immediately answered when Scoby caught his second pass of the year and scored from 18 out to cut the score to 8-7.
The Golden Knights didn’t back down, answering when Mudie juked three defenders along the sideline for a 27-yard score and a 14-7 lead after a missed kick attempt.
Crawford then juked out the safety on his way to a 28-yard score with 13 seconds left in the first quarter, as Gangi was rarely pressured and never sacked.
“They did an outstanding job protecting Ty,” Bonds said of the Trevor Provencio-led offensive line that also includes Israel Gutierrez, Tyler Laskey, Austin Finto and Joe Loubier.
A Gangi four-yard run and a subsequent 28-7 lead made it 20 straight points for St. Francis before Scoby’s 73-yard run.
St. Francis put a capper on the first-half scoring when Gangi lofted a beautiful pass that Crawford ran a long way to haul in just at the back of the end zone.
Scoby, nor starting Wildcats quarterback Deshawn Potts, returned for the second half, and St. Francis scored on its first two drives thanks to a 19-yard Gangi-to-John Carroll (four catches for 67 yards) score and a Gangi one-yard sneak.
“Coming out, we just wanted to keep pushing and not give them anything,” Gangi said.
In the second half, though, Monrovia didn’t give anything in return.
Next up for St. Francis is a trip to St. Paul and the onset of the Mission League.
“If you would’ve told me in June or July that we could fast forward and we’d be 5-0, I’d say, ‘Let’s go,’” Bonds said. “But we know we know our toughest games still lie ahead of us.”